As an older than average personal trainer I am fortunate to encounter people of all ages with a common goal of improving their quality of life. For many middle-aged people there are many misconceptions about health and fitness that I’d like to address in this short post.
1. Putting on weight is inevitable at my age.
Whilst our metabolism does slow down there is no inevitability about putting on weight in middle age. By becoming more active, you boost your metabolism and can maintain your weight. If you want to go further and are serious about it, there is no reason why you cannot lose a significant amount of weight through a combination of sustainable healthy eating and sustainable activity.
For women, the menopause is NOT a time when you are certain to put on weight and it has been proved that taking HRT does not lead in itself to weight gain. For men, getting a gut is not par for the course and it’s never too late to lose your moobs.
2. People will all think I’m too old to be seen jogging/cycling/rowing or whatever.
To be honest, who cares? It is highly unlikely that whoever is around will be at all bothered about someone moving at human pace through their field of vision. If they are looking your way it is probably because you have reminded them that they would be better off doing something active too. Don’t let being self-conscious hold you back: infact hold your head up high when you’re moving faster than people sitting in a traffic jam.
3. Proper exercise happens in the the gym and involves weights.
Proper exercise is anything active that raises your heart rate and contributes to your fitness (cardio, flexibility, endurance or strength). This can be anything from walking to bogsnorkling. Walking in the outdoors bring additional advantages that include relaxation, better breathing and improving bone density. If you have a pair of walking boots or some trainers you have access to fitness on your doorstep.
4. It’s not safe to exercise outdoors on my own.
Whilst it can be more fun to exercise or play sport with other people, don’t rule out doing your own thing. It is generally as safe for women as for men to be active outdoors in the UK (infact, statistically it’s safer for women). Independence is another key benefit of being active. Don’t let scare stories, or old-fashioned expectations put you off: get out there, or introduce yourself to the friendly people in your local sports or fitness club if you want company.
5. I haven’t got time to be fit.
This is one I hear a lot. Just how much do you want to become fitter and healthier? If you are not willing to get out of bed earlier, juggle your priorities, say no to people to make time to be active etc, then you are not motivated enough. In this case you should probably just stay silent and have another chocolate muffin. If you are serious about your health and fitness you will find the time (perhaps a few bits of time) during your day to be active.
Good luck on your fitness mission!